agreed upon deal. Then the Rams tried to pull a fast one. They wanted a second and now a fourth, or come on guys, when Stephen balked, how about a second and a fifth. Stephen Jones held strong. No, a second, a deal is a deal. The Rams finally relented, and when the trade was executed, it became obvious to all paying attention just who they were trading up for.
Think about it: How fortunate were the Cowboys? They didn't need either of the two quarterbacks. They certainly weren't going to spend a first-round pick on a running back. They weren't going to take another offensive tackle in the first round. And their homework told them Jacksonville wanted wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who they took, another guy the Cowboys wouldn't have moved on.
That meant five players went off the board, and not a one realistically on a Cowboys dream list.
Yep, lo' and behold, there was Claiborne, and never mind that they had just executed a $50 million free-agent deal with cornerback Brandon Carr. How many times do you get a chance to draft the second player on your draft board who just happens to play one of those impact positions and is considered the best non-quarterback in the draft?
The Cowboys couldn't call in the pick fast enough.
As Rob Ryan told Mo on the phone after Jerry Jones and Garrett told the emotionally-overcome Claiborne he was theirs, "I'm telling you, I had some good dreams last night, but not this good. This is fantastic, believe me."
Seriously. There just might have been tears of joy on both sides of the line.
There was a thought only five or six blue-chip players really existed in this draft; that after that there were holes in all the rest. And yes, you are right, I was a proponent of selecting someone, at whatever position, who could put pressure on the quarterback, and the best was defensive end Fletcher Cox, who ended up going 12th to Philadelphia.
But not at the expense of drafting the best defensive player in the draft who just happened to play cornerback, the signing of Carr notwithstanding – not when you have a chance to catch a falling star. Oh, my gosh. And you would never, if all things were equal, take a safety or a nose tackle or an outside linebacker over a corner, "a premium position in the National Football League," Garrett emphasized. And again, not just any corner, but the best-est corner, if you will, in the draft.
Not since the Cowboys traded up with Seattle in 1977 for the second pick to select Tony Dorsett have they made such an emphatic first-round move, and they had made 58 draft-day trades in the Jerry Jones era. But the 59th just might have taken the cake.
Consider: Had they not traded up and stayed put, and they say they would have, that Claiborne was the only guy they had agreed upon to move up for, the 14th pick would have been Claiborne's teammate, defensive lineman Michael Brockers, which they certainly would have been thrilled about and who eventually went there anyway to St. Louis.
And had they stayed put, thus keeping their second, Jerry Jones says they would have selected Utah inside linebacker Bobby Wagner.
So Claiborne or Blockers-Wagner, which gets you a fist-bumping?
Not even close, right? Forget the fist-bump, I'm guessing Claiborne had you hugging someone.
Because no matter what you think the Cowboys did with their other six drafts choices, you know deep down the presence of Morris Lee Claiborne, Shreveport, La., already makes the Cowboys, uh, Mo' Better.